Have you ever been out to dinner, and had a really great steak? You know the kind I mean: perfect char marks, cooked to order, and so juicy and good you wish they gave free refills on it, along with the drinks?

These days, it’s become far easier to have that perfect steak experience in the comfort of your own home, all you need is the power and convenience of an infrared grill. No, it’s not some sci-fi gadget straight out of Star Trek,; it’s the newest way to grill, and it’s readily available right here on Earth. In fact, for years, it’s been a favored method of cooking impeccably prepared, juicy meat for both professional and home chefs alike. Although the infrared system has been around for well over a decade, it’s only recently become a mainstream choice embraced by the average American cook.

The technology behind the product is relatively simple. The infrared grill burner, usually made of ceramic tile or stainless steel, is heated using propane or gas.  As a result, the surface heats quickly and maintains a high temperature, somewhere between 450 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it uses a direct heating source , infrared grills heat more evenly, helping to cook the meat or other food completely and thoroughly. It also cooks the meat very quickly, ensuring that your food doesn’t dry out. The meat is seared on the outside, and the juices stay locked in on the inside until you cut into it.

In addition to reducing the wait time to get your fork into that perfect steak, chicken, or whatever you’re grilling up, an infrared gas grill also reduces the amount of prep time needed. This is a huge advantage, because you save time while simultaneously saving on traditional fuels such as gas or propane.

The direct heating source is the main difference between infrared grilling and more traditional charcoal grilling, which relies on a process known as convection. Convection heats the air around the meat to raise the temperature, allowing the food to be cooked by the extremely hot air surrounding it.

The downside to all this convenience, of course, is the cost. Infrared grills are a bit more expensive than the run of the mill gas or charcoal grill, with prices ranging from the mid $200s for the smaller portable models, to the mid $6,000s for the top of the line model with all the bells and whistles. The average cost, found online, appears to be around $500 or so.

Now that you understand the pros and cons of infrared grilling, your next question is probably “How can I get one?” . Fortunately for the average consumer, not only has the price decreased tremendously, but the availability of infrared grills is much greater than it once was. Char Broil and TEC are two of the leading manufacturers of infrared grills for consumers, and Char Broil was one of the early middle-of-the-road grill manufacturers to start making the infrared grill for consumers.

Char Broil infrared grills come in three different models: The Red, has three burners with push start knobs that are adjustable, the Quantum, which offers 500 square inches of primary cooking area and 280 square inch warming rack and the Heatwave, which transfers the radiant heat using a unique, patented two trough system, that provides 100% infrared heat. And reduces flare ups and charring.  Each of these models can be set at different temperatures, depending on what type of food you are cooking.

Previously, this type of grilling technology was only available to commercial businesses; however, the patent on the technology expired in 2000, allowing manufacturers to begin producing infrared bbq grills for consumer use. Since then, the infrared system of grilling has changed the way both chefs and connoisseurs view preparing delicious meat, poultry, and even veggies. With advances in technology and updates to the system being made every day, it seems that the face of BBQ has changed permanently—and undoubtedly, for the better.

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